Marijuana use is a significant health problem in the college student population. With some states legalizing recreational use, it is important to monitor students’ use of marijuana and their attitudes towards legalization in order to be well prepared for education and prevention efforts.
A sample of 291 students attending a university in Ohio completed anonymous surveys to provide information on their marijuana use habits and their perception of legalization of marijuana.
The data showed that over half of the participants had smoked marijuana in their lifetime, and just under half had done so in the past year. Many students also reported that they had driven while under the influence of marijuana and/or had used marijuana while using alcohol. Students who disagreed that marijuana is harmful to health were over 7 times more likely to have used marijuana compared to students who had not. However, the overall results showed that a significant number of the students felt that marijuana should be legalized in Ohio.
A lack of knowledge among college students of the known negative effects of marijuana was demonstrated in this study, and leads to the potential for health care professionals on college campus as well as campus administration to assess the need for education and prevention of marijuana use. Educating students on the negative impacts that marijuana can have may be an effective strategy. The results of this study may differ compared to those in other states.
Take Away: A large percentage of college students have smoked marijuana in their lifetime. Even though marijuana is becoming legal in some states, many students are still unaware of the negative health outcomes related to its use. College health care professionals can play a role in education and prevention efforts to change this.